On today's radio show, Rush Limbaugh quoted a 2009 story about Jeb Bush from The Washington Times:
"Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Saturday that it’s time--" this is May 3rd of 2009, so five years ago, admittedly, but it fits nicely with yesterday. "Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Saturday that it's time for the Republican Party to give up its 'nostalgia' for the heyday of the Reagan era and look forward, even if it means stealing the winning strategy deployed by Democrats in the 2008 election. 'You can't beat something with nothing, and the other side has something. I don't like it, but they have it, and we have to be respectful and mindful of that,' Mr. Bush said."
The Times story went on to say:
The former president's brother, often mentioned as a potential candidate in 2012, said President Obama's message of hope and change during the 2008 campaign clearly resonated with Americans.
"So our ideas need to be forward looking and relevant. I felt like there was a lot of nostalgia and the good old days in the [Republican] messaging. I mean, it's great, but it doesn’t draw people toward your cause," Mr. Bush said.
"From the conservative side, it's time for us to listen first, to learn a little bit, to upgrade our message a little bit, to not be nostalgic about the past because, you know, things do ebb and flow."
This story was published after a meeting with voters at a pizza restaurant in Arlington, Virginia; the meeting was attended by Bush, Eric Cantor, and Mitt Romney, and it was under the banner of something called the National Council for a New America. The Times story carried the headline "Jeb Bush, GOP: Time to Leave Reagan Behind."
Now, as Steve Benen noted at the time, there's no evidence that Jeb actually mentioned Reagan by name. But there was fury on the right, and Cantor in a subsequent appearance on CNN, felt the need to walk back the nonexistent Reagan-bashing remarks:
"I don't think it's giving up Ronald Reagan," Cantor said on CNN Monday morning when asked if the GOP needed to move past Reagan. "I think the brilliance of Ronald Reagan's leadership was his ability to identify the challenges that really were impacting people's lives back in the day that he was elected in 1980."
But Republicans hear what they want to hear. If Fox tells them that President Obama said "You didn't build that" and meant that entrepreneurs played no part in their own success, they believe that. If talk radio tells them that Hillary Clinton said "What difference does it make?" because she was indifferent to the four deaths in the 2012 Benghazi attack, they believe that.
So Jeb really may have to explain repeatedly why he said in 2009 that it was "time to leave Reagan behind" -- even though he didn't actually say that. You know those mythical words are fighting words on the right.
By the way, Limbaugh is -- to put it mildly -- not a Jeb Bush enthusiast. In fact, he thinks Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton should run as one ticket:
The ideal, the perfect ticket for the 2016 election: Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush. Now, they can figure out who's on top of the ticket on their own. But when you compare their positions, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, on the key important issues, they are two peas in the same pod....
This is made to order the way both parties want amnesty. Jeb Bush wants it; Hillary wants it. Both parties want to win the nomination, Hillary by running away from the Democrat base, Jeb by running away from the Republican base. This is an ideal combination.
When it comes to Obamacare, national health care, both parties are signed on, both parties care about their donors more than their voters. And both parties have the exact same donor class. Mayors, stockbrokers, elite entertainment industry types, you name it. Folks, this is a ticket made in heaven. I can't recall a time in my life where a presidential candidate and a vice presidential candidate are so close to each other on the issues, where if one of them was unable to serve, we wouldn't know the difference if the vice president had to take office.
If Jeb's at the top of the ticket and they win and something happens and Hillary has to take over, nobody'd know the difference. Same token, Hillary is elected president, Jeb's veep, Hillary can't make it for some reason, her husband being the white Bill Cosby, might come up, you never know, then Jeb becoming president, nobody'd know the difference. Wouldn't skip a beat....
Bipartisanship, crossing the aisle, united government, no more gridlock, key agreement on all the important issues that people vote on. Clinton-Bush '16. You choose the top.
From Limbaugh's Facebook page:
I think you'll see this a lot in the wingnuttosphere. This run is not going to be easy for Jeb.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog